Agent's Guide

How to Sublet Your Apartment

For Individual Homeowners, Sublets, and Leasebreaks

Table of Contents

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How To Sublet Your Apartment On RentHop

Subletting, sometimes referred to as subleasing, is when a tenant rents out their home for a period of time (or the remainder of their lease) to a third party known as a sublessee. The sublessee takes over rent, utilities, and responsibility for the apartment under a sublet agreement.

What Are The Differences Between Subletting, Lease Breaks, and Subleasing?

Subletting, lease breaks, and subleasing are three very similar terms that have slightly different meanings.


Is a rental agreement with the landlord as they are “reletting” the apartment to a new renter. The original tenant will no longer be responsible for paying the rent, however, the terms of the lease may stay the same. This can also be referred to as a “lease takeover.”

Lease Breaks

A lease break is when you end your lease with your landlord. Most landlords will require you to be on the hook for the rent until either party finds a new tenant to take over the apartment and start a new lease directly with the landlord. Sometimes this is done in conjunction with subletting.


Is an agreement where the original renter remains on the lease and is responsible for rent and damages. A secondary tenant would then lease the space from the original tenant with the landlord’s approval.

On RentHop, we use the term subletting and subleasing interchangeably because the listing process is the same, however, it is important to understand the differences when speaking with your landlord or management company.

Subletting your apartment is a great way to get out of paying rent at a spot you’re looking to leave because of circumstances such as a new job, extended trip, or semester off. Typically, subletting is much cheaper than breaking a lease. This article offers guidance on the following topics:

  • What to know before you sublet
  • Finding a good subletter
  • Signing a sublet agreement
  • What to do before leaving

What To Know Before You Sublet Your Apartment On RentHop

There are a few main things to do before you sublet your place:

  1. Reach out to your landlord and/or property manager before pursuing a sublet.
  2. Check your lease for verbiage about subleasing. Certain leases may have sections that outline rules to follow.
  3. Always keep your landlord and/or property manager in the loop to ensure everything is legal and approved. It’s helpful to get things in writing, and in some places, it’s the law.
  4. Be sure to research your city’s regulations and local laws as well. The key to having a successful sublet is being informed.

You should also find out if your landlord or property manager requires an additional security deposit for subleases. If you decide to ask for a separate deposit, include it in the rental agreement and stipulate what it’s for and how it will be returned after the sublease is up.

Subletting Your New York City Apartment on RentHop

In New York City, you must have your landlord’s written consent. This request must be sent via certified mail to the landlord, along with a good reason for why you’d like to have a sublessee. It’s also required that the tenant keep the apartment as their permanent residence and plan on returning to the dwelling at some point. The multiple dwelling law says that subleases must be for at least 30 days and a maximum of two years to be legally protected by the city.

Even still, you may not be able to sublet your apartment in certain situations and NYC tenants in the following categories may not eligible to sublease their apartments:

  • Public housing (HUD and Section 8) inhabitants and renters who receive subsidies such as FEPS, SCRIE or DRIE
  • Nonprofit buildings
  • Co-ops or condo apartments
  • Rent controlled spaces

Additionally, there can be limits on the amount of money you can charge for rent. It typically shouldn’t be more than what you pay and may even need to be less. Whatever you decide, ensure it’s in writing and agreed upon by both parties.

How to Find a Good Subletter

Find Your Subletter by Word of Mouth

Ideally, the best subletter comes by putting the word out among friends and family. Asking those you know to share your RentHop listing is an easy way to pass along the information. Plus, knowing the person in advance is a major bonus when finding a good sublessee. It helps to eliminate some of the steps below, such as reference checks and employment verification if you already know or have folks vouching for the incoming tenant.

Social media

Posting your RentHop listing on your social media accounts can get the word out. There are some Facebook groups where you can also share the details of your listing to reach a wider audience.

Subletting On RentHop

Subletting on RentHop provides an easy-to-use process for advertising. Through a standard listing creation process, you can ensure your listing contains all the necessary information needed to secure a strong subletting candidate! As one of the top rental sites in New York and more, there is a large amount of rental traffic that will come across your listing, allowing you to find your subletter faster.

Tips for Interviewing Subletter Applicants

  • Ask for references and employment history
  • Meet in-person
  • Request a social security number for credit checks (if they are comfortable)

Ask interested parties to include three references and their employment history when responding to the ad. If your landlord or property manager is involved, they may have applications and screening processes for any potential sublessee.

Meet with the potential sublessee and give them a tour of the apartment. Ask questions about their employment and income, if there are other people who will be dwelling in the apartment, whether they will be having parties or guests often and why they’re looking to sublet.

Call the references and ask about the applicant’s dependability, confirm their employment, and ask whether they keep a clean space.

If the applicant is comfortable providing a social security number, run their credit reports at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can ask the person to cover the fees associated with running these reports.

Signing an Agreement

Once you’ve found a subletter, make sure to have them sign a legally binding contract and make them aware that they’re subject to the terms of the master lease as well as the sublease. If your landlord or property manager doesn’t sign the agreement, give them a copy of the document for their records. Even if you know the person who is subleasing, have them sign an agreement.

Templates for every state can be found online at Public Legal. You can also find New York-specific documents here. Every agreement should include the following information:

  • Names of subletter and sublessee
  • Address of property
  • Start and end dates of sublease
  • Security deposit amount (if applicable)
  • Amount owed for rent, due date, and how to pay (either to subletter or directly to landlord)
  • Utilities breakdown (how much – percentage or monthly amount)
  • Details about property rules (guests, parking spots, pets, smoking, common areas, etc.)
  • Signature and date of all parties, including landlord and/or property manager (if applicable)

Find out if you can evict the person if anything goes south. Your tenant rights may depend on your lease and local laws, so research before the sublessee moves into the space.

Things to Do Before Leaving Your Subleased Apartment

  1. Clean up: Clean your place and lock away anything you don’t want used by the sublessee such as valuables or fragile items.
  2. Document the space with photos: Do a walkthrough with the new tenant to ensure that both parties are aware of any existing damages to the space. If you’re leaving furniture and other personal items, take photos of those so you can assess any damage upon return.
  3. Make room for storage: Make sure there’s enough closet and storage space for the new tenant to comfortably store their belongings.
  4. Leave your contact information with the sublessee and the landlord/property manager so they can reach you if needed. Also, leave contact information for emergency maintenance and other need-to-know numbers for the property.
  5. Check your rental insurance policy to see if it covers your things even if you aren’t living there. Decide whether you should amend your policy or store your items while you’re away.
  6. Have a backup plan in case the tenant has to backout or terminate the sublease early. Keep an emergency fund with enough money to pay rent for a couple months in the event that happens. Also hang on to the contact information of other applicants so that you can reach out if the apartment becomes available again.

Remember that if you are on a subleasing agreement, the lease between you and your landlord remains intact. You will still be liable for damages or unpaid rents that occur.

Frequently Asked Questions About Subletting

Subleasing, also known as subletting, is when a renter has a third-party take over their lease for a period of time. Subletting laws vary by state so research local requirements before pursuing a sublease.

How can I find a sublessee?

Spread the word among family and friends or use your social media accounts to advertise. There are several websites dedicated to subletting, such as our site,

How do I vet a sublessee?

Ask for references, employment history, and (if they feel comfortable) a social security number. Call their references and investigate their employment history. Ask questions about their monthly income, why they are looking to sublet, and whether they’ll have pets or parties. If possible, meet them in person and give them a tour of the space.

Do I need to let my landlord know I’m subletting?

Yes. It’s always best to keep your landlord or property management company informed of any sublease. In some places, like New York City, it may be required!

Should I get a security deposit?

Most likely. Be upfront about what the security deposit is for — event of unpaid rent, damages to apartment, pet occupancy, etc. — and how it will be returned or used. Your landlord or property manager may require an additional deposit for subleases as well so check with them in advance. Include the amount and stipulations in the sublet agreement.

Can I create my own sublease or sublet agreement?

Yes, there are templates available online at Public Legal. You should also check with your landlord or property manager to see if there are documents they require for subleases.

How much should I charge for rent?

It depends on your local market. If you’re in need of a subletter immediately, you might have to charge below what you pay in rent and cover the difference. If your apartment is in a highly desirable location, you could charge the full amount of rent you currently pay. In some cities like New York and San Francisco, it’s illegal to charge more than your rent payment, so check local laws before deciding on an exact amount.


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